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Posts tagged ‘UK TV’

Aside

Why Can’t I Watch the BBC Online Abroad?

It’s often a shock, after all why offer an online version of the BBC and then block anyone who isn’t in the UK. But for many trying to access BBC Iplayer when they’re abroad becomes a bit of a challenge, you know it’s possible but connecting up can be difficult. The search usually leads to things like VPNs and proxies, which for anyone living abroad are now essential – they basically give you access to all the best media sites online – irrespective of your location and IP address.   So when the BBC, Hulu, ABC or M6 Replay checks your location and IP address and then decide what you can see – the proxy or VPN just tells them what they need to see – and allows you access.

For instance, I was recently in Spain with my work and got kinda bored staying in a hotel.  So decided to watch some UK television online using my laptop.  Unfortunately I then discovered that because I then had a Spanish IP address (from the hotels Wifi),  I was now blocked from all the best UK websites like the BBC Iplayer and ITV etc.  It was kind of annoying until I discovered there was a solution and an easy one at that.

By the way if you don’t know why people are so keen to get access to BBC Iplayer – you should really check it out.  It’s without doubt one of the best media resources available online, in fact I don’t think anything comes close although there are some excellent US sites like Hulu and Pandora for music.

Anyway for those of us who either live or travel abroad a lot, having access to these sites is a godsend.  You don’t have to sit watching a TV show in a language you don’t understand or some awful cable channel.

So What is the Solution to Watching BBC IPlayer Abroad?

Basically the problem is your IP address,  everyone is linked to a specific country and it’s very easy to look up.  Many websites look your location up as soon as you access their site, they then tailor what you can see based on that information.  It’s called Geotargeting and frankly it’s extremely annoying – you’ll normally get an error message like the image below.

Or perhaps this one if you try and access Pandora outside the US.

pandora blocked

The way around it is quite simple, you just have to make the website think your in a different country by using an IP address from the required country.  Unfortunately you can’t modify your own address easily as this is assigned by your ISP.  However you can connect via a proxy server based in the correct country and use it’s address.

So for example to watch BBC Iplayer outside the UK you’d connect through a UK proxy.  If you wanted to watch Hulu from outside the US then you’d need a USA proxy, Pandora needs an American one too and so on.

It’s really  that simple – the website sees the IP address of the proxy server and not your real one.   This short video shows the steps of changing your IP address online  –

Where do I get a Proxy Server to Watch Iplayer or Hulu?

There’s a few options depending on time and budget.  You can find some free ones online if you search – however it takes a long time to find one in the right country and fast enough to relay video through.  In reality you’ll be best to settle on one of the many services that are available.  A commercial service should be plenty fast enough and you know it will always be working when you want to watch something.   The biggest problem at the moment is Netflix which has been actively blocking both proxies and VPNs based on the categorization of the IP address – you can read about it here – Netflix blocking proxies.

The one I use is Identity Cloaker which has been around for many years – it’s way better than any of the TV watching services and does much more. Try the trial first if you are unsure to test it out – Identity Cloaker 10 day trial – it gives you access to all the top media sites in UK, USA, France, Canada and Germany to name only a few.

If you want some further information – try these for further reading:

BBC iPlayer Abroad – http://www.iplayerabroad.com/

A Very Old Post about Watching the BBC (still seems active) – http://www.anonymous-proxies.org/2009/02/using-iplayer-abroad-viewing-bbc-via.html

New Site  – http://bbciplayerabroad.co.uk/

Post

So Can I Watch UK TV in the USA

The trouble with most media websites is they look at your IP before determining what you can see online. More precisely they look at WHERE your IP is authorized to.  Some internet sites like search engines use this to tailor your search results, to ensure that you do not end up getting a plumber who lives on the reverse side of the planet when you sort “local plumber” into Google.

So that is great but regrettably that is just about the only advantage.  Much more often it is used to prevent access,  so if you need to see US TV stations on line from Europe or perhaps British TV whilst in the US then you’ll be out of luck.
Here’s an example of the kind of display that you’ll get if you do try….

You’ll have the same sort of difficulty  if you attempt to access NBC, ABC, Hulu or even Pandora from anyplace outside the USA – because you don’t have a US IP.   It gets really annoying,  particularly when you travel a lot and discover your self blocked from your favorite web sites simply because you happen to be in another location briefly.

Fortunately it’s possible to sidestep these blocks and actually a complete little miniature industry has developed into allowing completely unfettered use of these web sites.

OK just  for illustration,  although the same applies to almost every single media site in the world – let’s try and watch the wonderful BBC Iplayer from outside the UK.  We’ll just use a security program called Identity Cloaker to access the BBC to demonstrate.  The trick is to fool the website into thinking you’re in the UK.  This is done by connecting via a different IP address, one based in the UK and hidden by a proxy server.

Here’s what I actually do

 

That is the small front end of Identity Cloaker which offers you the list of all the proxy servers (about 10 pages of them across a dozen countries).  We want a UK one as that will give you a British IP address whcih is essential for UK TV in the USA.  In this screen you search down and look for a UK host which has the fastest speed to your relative location. You can also access sites in the United States, Italy, Germany, Canada, Holland and some more places simply by choosing the correct banners.

After selecting this server you will have no problems – simply go to the BBC website and watch whatever you like.  You can even disconnect after the programme you wish to watch has started playing (although if you need to change you’ll need to connect to a UK server again).

It’s very easy to use thanks to the point and click interface of Identity Cloaker.  It will allow you to  see UK TV in almost any country at all, your location simply doesn’t matter. There are loads of providers out there now , but I truly can recommend Identity Cloaker, they have now been around many years, really fast servers  and do not charge per proxy like most of the companies.

There’s a really cheap demo for 10 days for a couple of dollars here — Identity Cloaker 10 day trial — try it first to check out how it works for you.